DC briefing boosts collaborative effort

Washington, DC-A congressional briefing held recently at the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health has highlighted the need for research partnerships to fight diabetic retinopathy effectively.

Washington, DC-A congressional briefing held recently at the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health has highlighted the need for research partnerships to fight diabetic retinopathy effectively.

The briefing featured Thomas W. Gardner, MD, MS, a diabetes researcher, clinician, and professor of ophthalmology and cellular and molecular physiology at the Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, part of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network.

During the 1-day event, Dr. Gardner met with Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), a co-chairman of the Congressional Vision Caucus with NIH oversight, as well as senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum (both R-PA).

The network includes 545 experts at 163 clinical sites in 43 states and is one of several collaborative efforts funded by the NEI over the past 30 years to study diabetic retinopathy.

These networks have led to effective diabetic retinopathy treatments that have reduced blindness by 90% and saved $1.6 billion annually in health-care costs, the NEI said.